Phoenix Suns Overcome And Lock Down In Win Over Utah Jazz, 95-83

Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Utah's first game without Jerry Sloan started with nine straight points, but ended in a double-digit loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Playing for their former coach, the Jazz just couldn't keep it up.

Steve Nash had 18 points and 10 assists, Hakim Warrick scored 16 off the bench and the Suns overcame a 15-point deficit for a 95-83 victory over Utah on Friday.

Jazz guard Deron Williams, who took heat in the wake of Sloan's surprising resignation, led the way with 19 points and 14 assists in his first pro game under a different coach.

Still, the team was unable to win in Tyrone Corbin's debut despite opening the game with a 9-0 run and playing most of the first half with a lead above 10.

"We ran out of gas," Corbin said. "I mean, I don't know if it was emotions in the first half, when we showed up for the game, but the second half we just got away from everything we were doing."

Sloan stepped down Thursday in the middle of his 23rd season with the Jazz, saying during an emotional press conference that it was time to leave the team he had coached since early in the 1988-89 season.

Corbin, a former assistant, received a standing ovation before the game -- his introduction after taking over for a Hall of Famer. The home crowd had more to cheer about after Andrei Kirilenko's three-point play started the early surge.

"We came out excited. [Sloan] was a great coach, we were lucky to play under him," said Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.

But the Jazz, playing without guards Raja Bell and Ronnie Price because of injury, lost Kirilenko to a sprained right ankle late in the first half after he collided with Suns forward Grant Hill.

C.J. Miles also scored 19 points, while Hayward added 14 off the bench as Utah fell to 4-11 in its last 15 games.

"It's a tough loss," said Williams. "We just kind of came apart. We didn't do the same things in the second half that we did in the first half."

With their sixth win in seven games, the Suns (26-25) moved above .500 for the first time since they were 11-10 on December 7. They are 11-4 since January 12 -- the second-best record during that time, behind only the NBA-leading Spurs (12-3).

Robin Lopez added 14 points for Phoenix and Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

The Suns trailed by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and were down by 15 twice in the second, the last time when Hayward's layup made it 54-39 with 1:35 remaining in the half.

"Couldn't make a shot," said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.

But Phoenix used a 19-4 run spanning the second and third quarters to tie the game at 58-58 when Lopez was fouled on a dunk and made the free throw. Lopez gave them their first lead of the game on a reverse layup that made it 64-63 with 5:14 left in the third quarter.

The Suns battled to a 71-69 edge at the buzzer, but the real damage came with a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter. Spanning more than seven minutes, the burst gave them an 85-75 lead with 3:42 left and they went up by as many as 15 down the stretch.

"Emotions run out," said Jazz forward Paul Millsap, "and we ran out."

Sloan, 68, was the longest-tenured head coach in the four major American professional sports. His longtime assistant coach, Phil Johnson, also stepped down...Including two-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Sloan went 1,221-803 as an NBA head coach -- the third-winningest in league history behind Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens.Sloan went 1,221-803 as an NBA head coach...Bell sat with a strained left calf and Price was out with a sprained right big toe.

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